If you don’t trust yourself, how can they trust you?
I recently attended a webinar with The Paraplanner Club on building your confidence and relationships, hosted by the wonderful Carla Langley at Progeny.
The webinar discussed how you can have the confidence to approach advisers with issues and how your confidence affects how they see and relate to you which subconsciously feeds into whether they trust you and your knowledge.
This got me thinking about my own experiences and how looking at it from another angle I realised that even when you are confident in your own knowledge, if the other person does not have that trust in you it can affect and wear down your own confidence, causing a vicious cycle which can be hard to break.
In a previous firm I worked with a colleague who was extremely confident in his knowledge and was a strong extrovert. This resulted in many discussions in which he would take the lead and even though I had the knowledge I did not have the confidence to assert myself in the situation and as such I would shy more into the background rather than showing my knowledge. When I changed companies, I took this lack of confidence with me and as a result, when answering queries to my Planner I would often give the answers with a lack of conviction which resulted in him not fully trusting my answers and often asking me to check with another colleague. This had the spiralling effect of reducing my confidence even further as I knew that what I was saying was right, but I was not saying it with the conviction for the planner to trust in me.
So how did I break my own cycle and change how my planner perceived me? Well, I decided to make this the year of pushing myself outside of my own comfort zone and do things that I have always wanted to do but would usually doubt my ability to be able to do. This included going paddle boarding, which I am pleased to report that me, and the (not overly nice harbour) water only became acquainted once, and I have now become hooked. As part of my year of not saying no I decided to become a mentor with The Paraplanner Club to help pass my knowledge and experience to others, but to also help work on myself. I also decided to enter the CISI Paraplanner of the Year Award 2021, although I felt I had no chance of getting through the first round (see my lack of confidence raising itself here again), as this is a test of a paraplanners knowledge and skills. I am hugely proud to say that not only did I get through the first stage, I won (and got to attend a very swanky ceremony at Red Bull racing, which as a huge F1 fan was amazing).
As a result of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, my confidence has definitely improved and I have more belief in my abilities and my knowledge and now when I doubt myself with colleagues or tell myself they are more knowledgeable as me, I try and take a couple of minutes and go through the evidence in my head as to why this is not true and why my voice matters. Now I answer questions and queries with more authority and my Planner definitely has more trust in what I am telling him, and I am happy to say that he now rarely asks me to check with a colleague, it is normally me suggesting it when I know that my knowledge in the area is not as strong.
Sadly, I got left with one item on my list of things I wanted to do this year, which was go jetskiing (as I live very close to the sea). I tell myself that I did not have the time but still deep-down think that I still was stopping myself and putting doubts in my own head, such as looking stupid in a wetsuit, or what happens if I fall off and can’t get back on. But we still have a month to go of 2021, the seas pretty warm this time of year isn’t it?